Climate Change: Why the Threat Produces Apathy, Not Action

Many people aren’t responding to mounting evidence of the huge impacts of climate change. Neuroscience helps explain why – and the key role that businesses can play in responding rationally.

Voter behavior has long held mysteries for both politicians and psychologists. Why do poor and working-class voters across the US South, for instance, still line up to support conservative candidates whose policies favor the rich, weaken the social-safety net and limit access to affordable health care?

Some in the field of moral psychology have argued that national politics is “more like religion than it is like shopping”. Entrenched notions of cultural identity, in other words, can often be more motivating than short-term policy promises.

But how to explain the paralyzing resistance to climate change action, where the risks approach existential peaks unseen in historical human experience?

Despite spending a record amount of money to sway the mid-term US elections, environmental groups and high-profile donors failed to avert a sweeping Republican victory last week, in which candidates opposing the regulation of greenhouse gases and championing the expansion of tar sands pipelines won big.

It’s not as though the facts aren’t there: the global scientific community has warned us for years about the present and future impacts of climate change linked to fossil fuel use. Earlier this month, for example, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report came out, warning of “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” if carbon emissions are not halted fast.

“Science has spoken,” UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said during the report’s release. “Time is not on our side.”

With so much at stake, why do people fail to act? What’s happening inside their brains?

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Photo Credit: J E Theriot on


Climate Reality
Climate Reality4 hours ago
France wants American scientists — and the country will pay for them to study climate change.

(via World Economic Forum)
Climate Reality
Climate Reality9 hours ago
Don’t get it twisted. India *is* taking climate action.
Climate Reality
Climate Reality20 hours ago
Reason for hope: At least 30 US cities are planning to run entirely on renewables within the next 20 years!

(via World Economic Forum)
Climate Reality
Climate Reality1 day ago
In 2016, jobs in the United States solar industry increased nearly 17 times faster than the rate of the overall economy.
Climate Reality
Climate Reality shared NowThis Politics's video.1 day ago
Arnold Schwarzenegger knows Americans can solve the climate crisis without the White House.
Climate Reality
NowThis Politics
Arnold Schwarzenegger says the U.S. will terminate climate change with or without Trump's help

Climate Change Discussion

Is climate change real? Or is it a communist plot to enslave humanity? Is denial of climate change a plot by the oil companies to protect their profits? How can we tell who is lying? Is doomsday upon us? How bad is it? Is it the end for all life on Earth? And, if so, should we lie down or something? This group endeavors to discover the answers to these questions and more. It is NOT the purpose of this group to force an answer on participants. We are blind men groping an elephant. Tell us what your part of the elephant feels like so that the rest of us can correct our understanding. This group has few rules and will be moderated with a light hand. 1) Don't violate the Facebook Terms of Service. We don't want the group shut down. 2) Spam will be deleted. Off-topic posts from regulars are permitted within reason for social purposes, but off-topic posts from newcomers will be assumed to be spam and removed. All posts will be subjected to post approval. 3) This is an open group. If you make an ass of yourself, the whole world will see it. The moderators will not protect you from yourself. 4) If you don't want to see another person's posts, use the block feature. The moderators will be happy to help you with this. You may censor what you see. You may not censor what others see. 5) Don't feed trolls. The best way to draw attention to an idiot's rant is to respond to him. The best way to silence him is to ignore him. The post will rapidly scroll out of view and others won't see it. Every time you reply, you bump the post up where all will see it, giving it legitimacy. 6) Reporting others is a bannable offense. Only report for fly-by-night spam (ie. from people who just joined the group to post one item and then vanish). Bumping 20161006
Frank Tygart
Frank Tygart shared a link to the group: Climate Change Discussion.2 days ago
Is overpopulation the primary cause of climate change?
Bethany Hunt
Bethany Hunt shared NowThis Politics's video to the group: Climate Change Discussion.1 day ago
Bethany Hunt
NowThis Politics
Rick Perry is a proud climate change skeptic — but Sen. Al Franken is having none of it
Dana Nuccitelli
Dana Nuccitelli shared a link to the group: Climate Change Discussion.8 hours ago
My The Guardian entry today on a new paper that debunks a couple of the most popular climate denial myths (on the accuracy of climate models and the non-existence of a warming 'pause'). The reactions to the myth and the paper also provide a great litmus test of the difference between skepticism and denial.
Joseph Fournier
Joseph Fournier8 ago
Some Alarmists are stating that the 88 billion tonne growth in CO2 in the atmosphere starting from the late 1700s to 1900 was due to land use change (i.e., deforestation).

Something has to account for the inability of concrete production and coal consumption to explain the growth.

How many square kilometers of land would have to be burnt to release 88 billion tonnes of CO?

Rough estimates are anywhere from 10 to 40 million square kilometers (1 to 4x the size of the US).

Or maybe some other physical reason for the 88 billion tonne estimated growth in CO2 that is not anthropogenic in origin?

1. Woody biomass density 10k to 40k tonnes per square kilometer.
2. 2.5k tonne CO2 emitted per square kilometer (land use change).
Glenn Sullivan
Glenn Sullivan shared 100% Renewable Energy's photo to the group: Climate Change Discussion.3 days ago

Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice8 hours ago
New toolkit launched by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) and UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) was developed to:
help financial institutions gain a better understanding of the value and risks of energy efficiency investments;
provide a common framework for such evaluations;
facilitate the attraction of external capital; and
provide a common language between project developers, project owners and financial institutions.
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice6 days ago
The Statistical Review of World Energy, published by the global energy provider BP, found that in 2016 global coal production decreased by 6.2%, the largest yearly decline on record. Coal consumption fell by 1.7% and the share of coal in primary energy consumption fell to 28.1%, the lowest since 2004. Overall, the Review detected a significant shift in the global fuel mix away from coal towards lower carbon fuels.
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice7 days ago
Recent reports have provided evidence of the ongoing transition to a clean energy future:

‘BP Statistical Review of World Energy: June 2017’ indicates a low growth in global primary energy consumption in 2016 and a shift in the fuel mix away from coal towards lower carbon fuels, and

the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its ‘Hungary 2017 Review,’ welcoming the country’s efforts to reduce its emissions.
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice1 week ago
International collaboration can "greatly hasten the adoption and implementation of domestic energy efficiency policies, something we must not forget as new political realities lead some countries to retreat from cooperative action."
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice2 weeks ago
Did you know that all seven of the G7 Environment Ministers indicated their support for efforts by “G7 and other countries interested in examining and removing incentives, particularly inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, not coherent with sustainability goals”?
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice2 weeks ago
The eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) meeting launched a number of campaigns and initiatives, including: an EV30@30 campaign on electric vehicles led by China; a campaign on advanced power plant flexibility led by China, Denmark and Germany; an initiative on sustainable cities and eco-towns led by the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation; and a campaign on the role of buildings in urban energy systems led by the European Commission and France.

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